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Baby found alive 9 hours after being abandoned in Montana woods

10 July 2018

During the interview, Crowley is said to have told deputies that the baby he was caring for "may" have been buried.

According to the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, the desperate search for the baby unfolded after deputies received reports at about 8 p.m. Saturday about a man acting strangely near Lolo Hot Springs, about 35 miles outside of Missoula, Montana. The man, later identified as 32-year-old Francis Carlton Crowley, was allegedly threatening people, putting his hands into his pockets, and telling people he had a gun.

While the deputies were trying to track down the man, another 911 call came in saying he had returned to Lolo Hot Springs, where he was ultimately apprehended.

Thanks to a tip, officers found Crowley, who police say "under the influence of drugs", and not making sense.

The reference is to a deputy who heard a faint cry in the woods and discovered a baby buried under sticks and debris, a happy end to a frantic six-hour search at night with temperatures in the 40s.

The baby was taken to a Montana hospital for treatment and was listed in good condition Sunday.

Crowley has been charged with criminal endangerment, according to the Missoula County jail roster. He followed the sound and found the infant alive, lying face down and buried under a pile of sticks and debris.

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Alongside a search and rescue team and officers with the United States Forest Service, deputies with the Missoula County Sheriff's Office began searching on foot Saturday evening.

The baby was reportedly clothed in only a wet and soiled onesie.

Missoula County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Brenda Bassett told MTN News that the boy has minor scrapes and bruises after spending nine hours in the wilderness. For those of us with children, it hits especially hard to know what this small baby endured in the last 24 hours. When they arrived they learned the baby had been missing for several hours and Crowley had vanished.

"For all of us at the sheriff's office, this is what we call a miracle", the statement reads.

It was not clear if Crowley has been assigned an attorney as of Monday, according to the Missoula County Attorney's Office. The infant was found at 2:30 Sunday morning when it was about 46 degrees outside.

Crowley, who will likely face additional charges, is scheduled to appear Tuesday afternoon in Missoula County Justice Court.

Baby found alive 9 hours after being abandoned in Montana woods